The origination of HeLa cells, used in biomedical research for a potential cure for cancer, had made many ground breaking discoveries in science; all thanks to one woman, Mrs. Henrietta Lacks. The history of Mrs. Lacks’s contribution to these studies raised many ethical issues concerning healthcare practice. In the short film, The Way of All Flesh, we learn how these cells were revealed by direct violation of ethical principles.
For the benefit of patient the medical profession has long subscribed to a body of ethical statements. It is used to safeguard the patient life and rights. But there have been times where these same rights are infringed upon and it is mostly due to lack of knowledge, social standing, or lack of monetary means all of which encompass a persons socio-economic status. Two different case studies will be evaluated to determine whether or not there truly is an effect on medical ethics. The first will be the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, and the case of Henrietta Lacks and the Hela cells.
In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, Rebecca Skloot analyzes ethics in past scientific/medical studies, specifically Henrietta Lack’s case, to alter the way the reader sees how modern medicine came to be. Doctors took the cancer cells of a young, poor, African-American woman diagnosed with cervix cancer in 1951, without her consent, and used them to grow an immortal cell line that has made millions of dollars and is still used today. Skloot shows the effect Henrietta’s infamous cells (HeLa cells) have had on the scientific community presently and show the negative effect it has had on her family. The author wants the audience be aware of the how an essential cell line used in research was created with great ethical injustice. Skloot wants audiences to learn a little from Henrietta’s story and at least be aware of the ethical scientific issues today to form their own opinion.
We can partially blame the atrocious experimental research conducted by the doctors exposed by Skloot on the era of American culture in which their research took place in. A time in America’s history where places like The Hospital of the Negro Insane and the belief that your doctor is always right existed and patient advocacy and informed written consent forms did not. Individual and population rights were considered a joke for African American at this time. Throughout the book, black Americans were victims of medical experimentation undisclosed to them. The same is true in the time Henrietta Lacks spent in John Hopkins hospital.
Participation Portfolio 1 Asst 3: Henrietta Lacks Discussion Questions Please answers each of the following questions, and be prepared to discuss in class 1. Please outline the history of Henrietta Lacks 's tissue cells. Who did what with the cells, when, where and for what purpose? Who benefited, scientifically, medically, and monetarily?
Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman whose cells from her cancerous tumor led to many medical advances in the world. The cells led to the HeLa line, which have a crucial role in drug development and toxicity testing (Hunt). Prior to the HeLa line, it was proven impossible to grow human cells in a laboratory for any length of time. The conflict in this amazing discovery is that her cells were taken from her body for medical purposes without her permission. People argue that people have to be given legal ownership of their tissues and given money for them or medical advances made using the tissues.
The story of Henrietta Lacks involves an extreme violation of privacy. The book describes and discusses issues related to access of personal information from medical records, use of tissue samples, informed consent, and privacy invasion. These are issues that have raised debate, and are of concerns to me as a social worker. Other significant issues in this book relate to a lack of respect for Henrietta Lacks and her family, as well as justice, race, and social class. Being a social worker and reading this book made me so upset. One of the most obvious issues in this book is Henrietta did not give permission for doctors to take her cells. Her story is a prime example of the ethical tradeoffs the scientific community struggles with in pursuit
An essential part of modern society relied on trust, especially the trust of doctors and scientists. People had the right to make an informed decision about their bodies and body parts. People had a right to their body parts, both attached and cell samples collected by doctors. The actions that the medical professions made will continue to affect future generations in both positive and negative ways. In the contemporary biographical novel, the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot used logical opinions to argue about the importance of consent to reveal the lack of morality from those in the medical field which continues to persist today.
Millions of people have these cells to thank for their health and researchers owe their life’s work to them. Yet, the Lacks family cannot even afford to go to the doctor and are completely unaware of everything their mother’s cells have done for the wellbeing of people all around the world. Gey would not even publish or release her real name. In chapter 22, the reader sees the family’s reaction to being kept in the dark about these cell, Bobbette says, “Everybody always saying Henrietta Lacks donated those cells. She didn’t donate nothing.
“A Question of Ethics” by Jane Goodall and “Animal Research Saves Lives” by Heloisa Sabin presents two sides of the same coin in regards to Animal testing. Thereby, questioning the validity or necessity of animal research and testing today. In “A Question of Ethics” by Goodall she presents a scenery of the living conditions of the animals which are often isolated; posing the ultimate questions of, whether animal research is essential to medical research? Or How many tests are performed only to conform to laws and not out of scientific merit? The Suggestion was made that scientists should explore alternative options, such as testing on cell and tissue cultures.
This part of the novel begin with the family discovering that their mother’s cells were being used in laboratories everywhere in the world. Her cells were used to help develop drugs for treating, herpes, polio, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia and Parkinson’s disease. Also, they were used to study lactose digestion, sexually transmitted diseases, appendicitis, human longevity, and mosquito mating (Skloot, 4). Part three also covers the amount of profits that were made from HeLa and how much the Lacks family struggled with numerous amounts of medical conditions and other adversities that could have all been alleviated with their share of the HeLa cell line profit. The chapters also cover a few legal cases and once important case (Moore vs. Regents of the University of California) that cause the Supreme Court to conclude that human tissues after being left in the doctor's office, no longer belonged to the patients, rather is in the ownership of doctor or the hospital.
The injustice of taking Henrietta’s cells and using them for research without her consent or of her family for that matter; until 20 years later is incomprehensible. Many believe that the history of medical ethics such as the Hippocratic Oath and complying the federal law in protecting human research and confidentiality wasn’t yet recognized. All the same, the Lacks’ family isn’t given credit or acknowledgement for what Henrietta, has contributed to science, known as the HeLa cell line. Henrietta’s
The scientific community and the media are guilty of viewing Henrietta and her family as abstractions; they did not give the Lacks family a fair trial, they’ve yet to give her family any form of compensation for the success of her cell line, and operated on Henrietta like a science fair project. In the non-fiction narrative The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot, it states, “The fact that no one had sued over the growth or ownership of the HeLa cell line, he said, illustrated that patients didn’t mind when doctors took their cells and turned them into commercial products.” (204) This is unfair to the Lacks family because the fraud lawyer, Keenan Kester Cofield, deceived them. Although he is a con artist, he has a wide spectrum of knowledge about law than the Lackses really have about anything; they’ve had little to no education, and they barely knew anything about the HeLa cell line.
Henrietta Lacks was a thirty-one year old African American who had five kids and married her cousin David Lacks. Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the doctors never informed Mrs. Lacks that her cells were to be tested on. The Lacks family was certainly not advised that Henrietta 's cells were growing at an incredible rate. Because of this, the cancer cells were shipped and bought across the world. The last 8 months of Henrietta’s death became a piece of history nobody would ever want to forget. Not only would her cells be important, but also, these cancer cells would cause her family to go through many challenges. Though Henrietta’s might have not been and important person while being alive. She & her family live through her reproducing cancer cells that continue to create advancements in the medical field.